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NFL Betting Preview – AFC Championship Game: New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)

Written by Charlie Jimenez   
Monday, 17 January 2011 23:54

New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Odds and PicksOnline Sports Betting Overview:

The New York Jets have exercised two of their most prominent demons on the way to this year’s AFC Championship game: the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. The NFL betting lines are showing that the Super Bowl Betting odds makers are still not buying into the Jets hype as the Jets are underdogs in the championship game to the Steelers. But the betting services are going to have to re-think their stance as the game approaches.

The Steelers got themselves into a huge 21-7 hole by halftime of their divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. By the time the game was over, it was the Steelers that were having Super Bowl dreams and the Ravens were sent home to think about next season. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger came to life in the second half and help rally his team into the next round of the playoffs. But Ben also had a hand in putting the team down 21-7, and that kind of inconsistency will not win against the Jets.

The two biggest handicaps that the Steelers have on offense coming into this game are a lack of a running game and the erratic play of Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben has always been an unpredictable gun slinger. That is what has made him a two-time Super Bowl champion. But the horseshoe that seemed to be installed in Ben’s arm has run out. He has been making good and bad decisions this season. With a secondary like the one the Jets have, and with no running game to fall back on, Roethlisberger will have to do a lot more thinking in this game than he is used to.

It looks like Mark Sanchez is hot and cold in these playoffs. In the first half of the divisional playoff game against the Patriots, Sanchez was throwing balls way off target. By the second half, he was missing some throws but hitting important ones. The Jets would like to think that they can put the ball in the hands of running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene if Sanchez starts to slip, but the Steelers defense may not allow that. Sanchez will have to play well in this game in order for the Jets to win.

The biggest advantage that the Jets have on defense is their secondary. Cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Darelle Revis shut down the Patriots passing game in the divisional round, and Tom Brady did throw at those two corners a lot. The Jets defensive line is extremely strong on the pass rush and the run stop. The linebackers completely own the middle of the field. The only problem the Jets defense may have is in controlling an unpredictable quarterback like Roethlisberger.

The great equalizer for the Steelers defense is safety Troy Polamalu. If Mark Sanchez gets erratic, then Polamalu will make him pay. If the Jets try to run instead of passing, then the Steelers linebackers will knock the Jets into last week. The game plan for the Jets will need to involve getting the ball to the middle of the field and keeping a close eye on Polamalu.

The Bottom Line:
The Jets put together a game plan that completely neutralized the Patriots at home. This time, the Jets will need to worry about the opposing team’s defense and not the other team’s offense. But the Jets have shown that they can game plan with the best of them when they beat one of the best game planners in football last week.

BSN Sports Pick: New York Jets

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